The board of Bellamy's is in chaos as rebel shareholders stage a coup

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Rebel shareholders at troubled infant formula maker Bellamy’s today gained two board seats and saw off four sitting directors.

As the day closed, four non-executive directors of the Tasmanian-based company were gone, one director held off the attack and the board was left without a chairman.

Chairman Rob Woolley and fellow director Laura Inman voluntarily stepped down earlier today. Michael Wadley, the interim chairman, and Charles Sitch were voted out at an extraordinary general meeting in Melbourne.

Two nominated by the rebel shareholders, Rodd Peters and Chan Wai-Chan, were voted on as directors. Peters is a lawyer and represents The Black Prince Foundation which has 14.48% of Bellamy’s.

However, current director Patricia Mann got enough votes to keep her chair at the directors’ table.

Jan Cameron, the founder of adventure retailer Kathmandu, a substantial Bellamy’s shareholder through various entities including The Black Prince Foundation, and leader of the rebels, didn’t get the votes she needed.

“I think the incoming directors will actually be better than me, and the appointments they will make in the future will be more suited to the company’s requirements,” Cameron told reporters after the vote.

The shares in the company were in a trading halt for the special shareholder meeting. They last traded at $4.27, down from a 12-month high of $15.38.

The infighting among shareholders follows the sudden end of the stellar growth in sales of the company’s organic baby formula to China, which began to stall after the country introduced strict new compliance rules.

The fallout claimed the scalp of CEO Laura McBain and stripped millions of dollars from the market capitalisation.

Earlier this month Bellamy’s posted a 47% drop in first half profit to $7.236 million following problems with sales of its organic infant formula in China.

Revenue dropped 12.5% to $118.3 million for the six months to December.

The company expects full year revenue to be in the range of $220 million to $240 million, at best flat on 2015, and well below previous analyst expectations of about $330 million.

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